Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Reactions to My Natural Hair

Hello, Everyone! So someone asked that I post about my experiences and people's reactions since I've gone natural. I made the decision to go natural in May of 2008. My last relaxer was in March 2008 and I did my BC (Big Chop, where you cut off all of your relaxed hair) November 2008 with about 4 inches of new growth. A lot of people told me they liked it. My mother did not. She asked why, then said, "Well, your hair grows fast, so..." My sister, who did my BC, shook her head when she was done and said, "I guess this what people do when they turn 30! You have NO hair!!" Funny thing is, these comments didn't bother me, though - I knew it was a shock. Shoot, I've never had short hair in all my life, it was a shock to me initially but I got used to it in a few minutes and LOVED it. It felt good to not be confined or restricted by my hair. No more stress of touching up my new growth and keeping it straight and "laid". My hair could just... be. And so could I.

Next I went to visit a friend of mine and his parents. I've known them for awhile, about 5-6 years so they know me pretty well. My friend's dad says, "I guess all women go through this, they have to cut their hair and do the natural thing, then they get it permed again." Umm... No. I am not getting another relaxer. This is permanent, and it wasn't just something "to do" for me. OK so all that was on the FIRST day. LOL So yes, you have to have a strong mind, and I knew WAY before I did my BC that I was sure about this. So the comments, although annoying, didn't make me regret my decision.

I met the guy I am currently seeing less than one month post-BC. So obviously HE had no issue. I had very little hair. LOL He still thought I was pretty. ;-) My friends complimented me and to my knowledge no one has said anything mean. One guy DID ask why did I cut my hair, because I was "fine before" (fine as in cute/pretty/whatever!). My reply to him was my hair does not make me, I am the same person and look just as good, if not better, now. He was like, "Yeah, you right. I just gotta get used to it." Sigh... PEOPLE. Again, good thing I have a strong mind ;-)

So. Before cutting my hair I will say I obsessed about natural hair and researched EVERYTHING online about how to care for different hair textures, products to try, I went on YouTube looking at vids of people doing their hair and followed countless hair blogs. All that research, and I learned TONS. Some of my friends said I was doing too much and I didn't need to do "research", to just do it. Mind u, my hair had been relaxed since I was 12 when I BEGGED my mom to give me one so I could have straight hair like my friends (proof that kids don't know sh**!). Anyway, I did my research so when I did my BC I knew what I was doing. It took me very little time to narrow down the products and techniques that would and would not work for me. People complimented my hair and even said things like, "I want to go natural but my hair is not like yours." Wait. Hold up. I have type 4 hair. Afro, kinky hair. VERY VERY tight curl pattern. It's not about having "hair like mine", it's about knowing how to manage YOUR hair. Hence my prior research. Secondly, I DESPISE the whole "good hair/bad hair" terminology and wish people would stop using those words. Healthy hair is good hair.

OK I am rambling but after all was said and done, those SAME people who said I was doing too much with my researching and whatnot, NOW ask me for hair tips and love my hair. They ask me how do I do this and that, and I just look like, "But you said..." LOL Anyway, besides those initial reactions on the first day, and that one male friend with his ignorance, I haven't gotten negative comments, it's been all positive. I see people stare but not in a disgusted way, more like they are wondering "How'd she do that?" I find it hilarious. And ladies, don't think that men won't like you if you cut your hair. Let me tell you, since cutting mine men come at me more than they did when I had a relaxer. Now THAT surprised me! I don't know if it is the fact that I don't look like everyone else, or my confidence level or what, but they definitely approach me more.

Alright, now let's hear some of your experiences. I have 30-something followers so I'd like more than 2-3 comments. LOL Men can comment, too - tell how you feel about women with natural hair. I look forward to ur comments.



Miss Mika said...

Love your blog! You look fantastic with your natural tresses btw.

I kinda got mixed reviews when I BC'd. I didn't transition, just told the barber to give me a fade and I would "start from scratch". I loved my short hair and the man that I was dating at the time loved my hair short too. He didn't want me growing it out at all! My mother didn't like it and thought I had other reasons for cutting my hair other than me wanting to be natural. My sister just kept reminding me of how short it was.

Men that I knew responded surprisingly well to my hair, saying it brought out my facial features. Women on the other hand responded sort of standoffish-ly to me under the impression that I cut my hair as a sign of being a lesbian of all things! To this day, my eyebrows still furrow in a confused look wondering how short hair could be associated with lesbianism... but whatever!

Overall, those close to me responded pretty well to my BC.
The best decision I ever made.
Going 2 years strong come this December :)

KeetaRay said...

Thank you for the compliment! I appreciate you checking in and reading :-) Yeah, I don't understand why people associate short hair with being a Lesbian, either. Short hair is short hair, nothing more & nothing less! I am glad that you had a good experience, though! I hate to hear when people don't.

Glam said...

Hey! Nice blog. Our hair stories are very similar. My bestie just went natural and I try to give her tips and stuff but of course she doesn't listen to me. She'd rather listen to her *gasp* "hairdresser" lol. I did get the same ignorance from a guy who loved my long flowy hair. Sadly he's still holding on to the dream that I'll bring it back. I do feel natural hair takes confidence and once you're comfortable with it and accept it, those around you will to.

PRealistB said...

Thanks for writing this! My experience has been sometimes up and down with natural hair. Since I'm still in high school I think that's why I get so many different responses. One girl complimented my hair in the bathroom as I was washing my hands while some guys would just laugh in my face and make snide comments but i'm a strong person who love my hair so I have just learned to let it go and ignore them. My mother and sister actually decided to go natural with me so it's nice to have someone go through the process and adjustment with you.

Coleen said...

I enjoyed reading your story and absolutely agree that its not about having hair like someone else it should be about each woman learning how to take care of our own hair. We tend to look at other people and want what they have which is not necessarily what we need. I'm learning to just love what I already have, which is what God has already blessed me with.

Shannon said...

Okay so I wanted to say I think natural hair is great. Although I am not there yet...still transitioning, you are part of the push I needed to get there. When I saw your hair I was like okay I think I can do this. I always wanted to and like you I have the hater/nesayers...my mother too! And when my younger sister started going natural in May at the age of 12 I was like, Dang I can definitely do this. So I want to tell you natural hair is great it is just a different type of maintenace. I am more than ready for the BC and hope to have it done by January 2010. Until next time.

KeetaRay said...

Thanks, everyone!! I love hearing other people's experiences. I'm glad that even if some of you have had naysayers, you stuck w/what you wanted to do!!

Christina said...

The first time my grandmother saw my big chop, she actually told me I'd better put some weave in before one of the women at the church stole my husband. WOW. As if going natural is a reason for your husband to cheat on you, lmbo. Needless to say, my husband has NOT left me, and actually loves my hair. (NOW. he wasnt a very happy camper at first, since I only had about an inch of hair, but now that it's grown out some, he can't keep his hands out of it!)

Imperfect Blend said...

This is a great blog. I'm trying to relate what you are saying with my own hair. It seems people who have our types of hair have the mentality to have 'pressed hair', 'gelled hair' and 'curls' etc to 'look great', hence getting closer to that "Eurocentric" - ideal. Since when I was younger I didnt realize that certain types of gels just weren't made for people with our hair types, which ultimately damaged our hair (it lacks the necessary vitamins and moisturizers). I was a victim of that and in the process, suffered from hair thinning. Some people never get to the point of realizing how beautiful they are with their natural healthy hair. - (and you do look beautiful!)

Last year, I decided to stop using gels, and use all natural shampoos and conditioners (enhancing the health of my scalp), as well as using light creams and moisturizers, and my barber has noticed the difference in a matter of a year! It really built up my own sense of pride of my own hair and realize theres nothing wrong with it. Its me! Take it or leave it.

On another note and a point to ponder, I have come across many black men who prefer their sisters to have long pressed hair, and/or weaves. The interesting flipside to that is that I know a lot of non-black men who love dating sisters with natural hair!

Krystia-HouseofKrystia said...

It's so funny to read all the different ladies stories about how others reacted to their natural hair. It's more so sad, because we as a black people can't or don't have pride in our own ethnic characteristics. idk why that is exactly, but we've obviously been brainwashed and it has stuck with us throughout time.

I've always kept my hair natural. People usually like my hair both straight or natural. Although, I can't fix my hair in any way besides a ponytail. So I don't really show it off, unless I twist it, then do the twist-out thing. But that only lasts for a day. Not really worth all the knots to me. And my hair gets thin when I twist it for some reason, so it's not as full and thick as it used to look when I was younger, but the twist-out is nice and full.

KeetaRay said...

Thanks, Jose! Aww ur too sweet. But I have also noticed what you have noticed re: black men and men of other races and their reactions to black women's natural hair.

Krystia, thank u also, for your comment! I think in general we HAVE been brainwashed but I truly believe in "each one teach one". I think acceptance is catching on ;-)

Suki said...

I admire you for cutting your hair short. I have always had natural hair but have always worn it straight (blow-dried) or cornrows, braids occasionally. But I am yet to wear it kinky for a long period in public. So mad props to you for doing something drastic. After much research on natural hair online, I think I have mustered the courage to try some of the styles I have seen.
As for unusual hair comments, "your hair can stand up straight!" from some asian girls. I had combed it out to be styled
Another was "your hair looks nice, it's always so...." and the lady makes a gesture to mean big and pouffy. I had done some medium/large braids with my own hair since I could not think of anything else. Needless to say I was happy, will be experimenting more!